Dragonfalls

Alchematum Compendium Totalum

About the Author

The mercury poisoning had taken it’s toll on Paracelsus. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to fashion a set of lenses that would allow him to see clearly anymore. His frames had already gone through numerous alterations to accommodate the ever thickening discs of glass in front of his eyes. Hardly “glasses” anymore, what Paracelsus wore would be better described as a “contraption” built of gears and bits of other things laying around his basement laboratory. Although his potions could provide a temporary respite from the failing vision, Paracelsus came to see it as a fiction; a tease. His brewery on the ground floor had long since shut it’s doors. “Quite a logical beginning for an alchemist.”, he thought. Twice a month the postman would stop at the Bacon Brewery, find a scribbled list of materials and a hefty bag of gold. After unloading the previous list’s tally, the postman would si mply retrieve the new list and the gold and be on his way. Paracelsus often wondered if the postman would ever figure out that the weight of the gold he was being paid exactly equaled the amount of lead he had been ordered to procure. It’s the little things after all. That fateful evening so many years ago when Paracelsus had stumbled onto the greatest discovery of mankind had changed everything. Only he knew the connection between his brewing experiments and the Philosoher’s Stone he had produced quite by accident. That secret he might just take to the grave. There was to be no eternal life for Paracelsus. He had no interest in prolonging his existence any more than the gods had determined to be enough. In his magnum opus, the Alchematum Compendium Totalum, he had stored years upon years of success and failure alike; seeing it not only as a teacher for the future, but also as a cautionary tale. He had determined that he wouldn’t bother an notating which potions actually worked and which did not, thinking at a good alchemist would need to experience the rigors of failure as he had in order to appreciate the beauty of the success. Oh, and what failures. What incredible sacrifice had he made in the pursuit of knowledge. His beard had been made of pure granite for as long as he could remember, causing him to shave with a chisel and not a razor. At any particular moment, his left hand would transmutate to clear, crystal water and fall to the floor with a splash. He would then have to wait a good twenty or thirty minutes for the hand to regrow, which always left him parched. The entireity of his right leg was covered in reptilian scales, teaching him that mixing potions with mead is a poor idea. It was all there, in that book he cherished so greatly. He affectionately referred to it as “my little minefield”. There was no potion that could take his sense of humor. “An alchemist without a sense of humor is simply a brew with no yeast.”, he said. He was completely at home in that basement, living under the sooty light of candles. His wine was fine, his food would rival a king’s, and his cat ate only the finest fish. “After all, having the ability to make infinite amounts of gold does have it’s merits, wouldn’t you say?”, he said one day to his cat, Jeremy.

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